Social media has become a monster of a thing to undertake when starting a new business or trying to integrate it into an existing business. You'll need to learn the ins and outs of all of the platforms. You'll need to decide who will be in charge of running social media and you'll need to commit real time to it. The real question is, "How necessary is social media for your business?" In my opinion, the answer to that question depends on what kind of business you have. For some businesses, Facebook is a great tool, but for others does it really make sense? Let's work through this.
Facebook was originally created for interaction between friends. You had to ask to be someone's friend and then once you agreed you were "friends", you could begin to read what the other was writing and what photos they were posting. Then as an added perk, you could see what their friends were posting. It was totally designed to "network" friends. Jump forward 13 years and Facebook has transformed into a business, complete with businesses joining in, ads and spam. Everyone who's "anyone" has a Facebook page. Not only do millions but as of today, 1.86 billion people are on Facebook. So to answer your question, should you be on Facebook, my question to you is "What do you have to say?" Yes Facebook is a great place to do some "free" advertising, but Facebook is on to people running their businesses off of Facebook and they are making it harder and harder to post things to promote your business. Let's say you have 1,000 people who have liked your page, Facebook is only going to show your post to about 35 people, unless you share your post on your personal page or pay to boost your post. Another option is to run digital ads. All good options, but the thing you need to remember, Facebook is a social app. The best way to communicate with your audience is to post social things about your business. If you're just constantly trying to sell people things, they'll get bored and stop paying attention. The most successful Facebook pages show the inner working of businesses, what the business is up to in the community, etc. Next you need to remember, photography is king. Great images will go really far. Take the time to set up shots that are great and interesting. Investing in a really good camera could take your photos from okay to amazing (of course the iPhone camera is getting ridiculously good, so there's that...)
To sum it up, if you don't have anything social or interesting to say, Facebook might help people find you and give you company some recognition, but if you don't take the time to post often and post interesting, it might not be worth the effort. It might be worth hiring a graphic designer to help you make your post look great.
Twitter is two years younger than Facebook. It started off as a way to send short, interesting messages to other people who follow you. It was created as an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages, "tweets," restricted to 140 characters. Twitter is a social platform, but is used mostly for promoting ideas and opinions. It's a great way to announce new things your company is doing, but not in depth articles, unless you post a link to the article. Twitter is a smart, intelligent form or social media, not to be ventured into lightly. Before launching a Twitter account, your company needs to have a plan and a person who will be in charge of your messaging. As with most social media, consistency is key.
Instagram came on the scene in 2010. It is all about the photography. Instagram is great way to showcase great photos of your business or your product. It's a very glamorous platform. If you don't have great images, I would steer away from Instagram. Another aspect of Instagram is the ability to tag companies and people and you can also communicate with hashtags. They are working on allowing new types of images and now videos. Before the image was limited to a square image only and no links to websites. Instagram reaches a younger crowd, if you business is targeting that age group. Another thing to remember is take time not just posting things people will like, but you also should spend time liking other people and company's posts. It's important to build these relationships and it's not just a one way street.
These are just three forms of social media. There's also Pinterest (a kind of black hole for me) and Snapchat (definitely more for kids). One thing to keep in mind, once you venture into the social aspect of your business, don't neglect it. It take diligence and sometimes daily effort. But the rewards can be huge!